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Robert Summa

NPD photo

August NPD: Predictable month for predicatable times

Madden caps summer
Sep 11
// Robert Summa
After a summer of mostly PlayStation and big-title dominance, the usual NPD sales for August proved par for the course as the juggernaut that is Madden took the top spot for the month. The other juggernaut of our times, Minec...
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Call of Duty

Nuketown reborn in Black Ops 3

But there's a catch
Aug 31
// Robert Summa
If you are a fan of the Nuketown maps in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series, then you'll be happy to hear that Treyarch is bringing the popular map to Black Ops 3. However, this time it's got an edgy name and you'll need to p...
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Cops arrest 6 teens linked to Lizard Squad

DDoS attacks are bad
Aug 28
// Robert Summa
Remember when our beloved Sony and Microsoft servers were continually down last year because some idiots sitting behind their keyboards thought it'd be cool to cripple an entire population of gamers? Well, the authorities hav...
NPD photo

July NPD: PS4 rolling, squids gone and dinos rise

Top ten continues to look samey
Aug 13
// Robert Summa
There weren't a ton of surprises this month for the July NPD report. Even though Splatoon players might be a little sad their beloved paint shooter is no longer in the top ten, you gotta admit, it had a good run with the big ...

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Nintendo finally reaches out to its core audience with appearance on Cake Wars

Too little too late for Wii U?
Jul 16
// Robert Summa
Even though the Wii U hasn't captured that coveted soccer mom demographic with its followup to the Wii, Nintendo isn't giving up. Like any good company, you have to know your audience and you have to cater to that audience --...
NPD photo

June NPD: Batman and PS4 lead the way

Splatoon remains at number five
Jul 16
// Robert Summa
June's NPD numbers were rather ordinary and predictable. That is, nothing terribly shocking happened. The PlayStation 4 was still the top console and Batman: Arkham Knight led the way for software (with the PS4 version the bi...
Game sales photo
Game sales

Ubisoft on why digital is more than physical

Because fuck you, pay me
Jul 09
// Robert Summa
As we've gotten knee-deep in the digital sales revolution, many us constantly wonder why we'll often see digital game prices for major titles either stay the same or remain higher for a longer period of time compared to their...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

New Black Ops III video goes deep into co-op

Killing with friends is so much better
Jun 19
// Robert Summa
In order to continue the hype-train coverage that is so much of the norm for today's AAA mega franchises (and probably lesser games too), this hot-off-the-presses marketing video for Call of Duty Black Ops III will take you on a 13-minute tour of the "cooperative campaign with the Cyber Core tutorial." Sit back, relax, and let the sounds of war bathe you in a warming glow.
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Saturday's Splatoon Splatfest postponed

Paint nearly as rare as amiibo
Jun 19
// Robert Summa
If you were planning on enjoying tomorrow's first North American Splatoon Splatfest, then you'll have to tame that excitement. Due to a "matchmaking issue" that "was discovered in the first Japanese Splatfest that resulted in...
NPD photo

May NPD: PS4 back on top, Witcher reigns, Splatoon surprises

PS4 software sales dominate the bone
Jun 11
// Robert Summa
After just a month in the top spot, the Xbox One gave way to the PlayStation 4 for the month of May, according to the latest NPD numbers released. But the PS4 didn't just sell hardware, the system also outsold the Xbox One fo...
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Latest NBA 2K16 news is everything that is wrong with the NBA 2K series

And nothing will ever change
Jun 04
// Robert Summa
The 2K sports franchises used to have a stellar reputation. NFL 2K and NBA 2K long-served as safe havens from the inconsistency and frustration that EA's counterparts offered. While NFL 2K was put aside due to licensing deals...
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Driveclub getting server overhaul, prepares for PS+ edition

Is it finally happening?
May 29
// Robert Summa
Whether it's just another broken promise or an additional carrot on the end of the PlayStation Plus stick, the developers of Driveclub have announced that come June 1 the servers for the game will be replaced and upgraded as ...
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NCSOFT ready to get some of that mobile money

Where there's a will, there's a whale
May 28
// Robert Summa
Whether we like it or not, mobile gaming has become huge. And for a publisher like NCSOFT that has long been an exclusive MMO provider, the company is making the smart move of shifting some of those dying genre resources over...
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Virtual reality

You'll need about $1,500 to go all in with Oculus Rift

Still no price for the actual unit
May 27
// Robert Summa
While we're still waiting for a final price on the retail version of the Oculus Rift, the company's CEO Brendan Iribe said that users will need to pony up about $1,500 for both a computer that will run the device and the actu...
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Twitch VODs now available on your mobile device

Why wasn't this available already?
May 20
// Robert Summa
Twitch is pretty much the king of streaming and today the king announced that videos on demand are now available via your mobile device of choice. Considering how long Twitch has been around and how popular it has become, it'...
PSN sale photo
PSN sale

Sony's Extended Play Sale makes it worth it to wait on buying DLC

Sorry day one suckers
May 19
// Robert Summa
For those that generally loathe the idea of DLC and season passes, Sony is offering quite the incentive to jump on the extra content train. Set to run until May 25, the Extended Play Sale is marking up to 80% off for what is ...
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Candy Crush

Attention hardcore gamers: Candy Crush Saga will be pre-installed for Windows 10

Moms around the world rejoice
May 14
// Robert Summa
For a long time, simple games like Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts have been beloved freebies that always come along with your Windows OS experience. In order to keep up with the times, it appears Microsoft is looking to u...
NPD photo

April NPD: Xbox One outsells PS4

Mortal Kombat X tops all software
May 14
// Robert Summa
According to April's NPD numbers, the Xbox One proved it has some legs as it claimed the top spot for the month's console sales by knocking the PlayStation 4 down a notch. While Sony may be leading the console race overall an...
Tony Hawk photo
Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 is official and it sounds terrible

So when is Skate coming back?
May 05
// Robert Summa
After years in hibernation, the next full iteration in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series is finally upon us and unfortunately it's not sounding (or looking) good. After months of rumors and hints, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 will fi...

Review: Tropico 5

May 05 // Robert Summa
Tropico 5 (Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox 360) Developer: Kalypso MediaPublisher: Kalypso MediaReleased: April 28, 2015 (PS4)MSRP: $59.99 Tropico 5 is a learning experience. How you choose to learn is completely up to you. There is a mission and campaign mode that will certainly steer you in the right direction, but that didn't appeal to me and I suspect most will want to do more than that as well. As a Civ junkie, I don't like to be limited with my creations -- in that, when a specific mission ends, so does your island. For me, sandbox mode is where I spent most of my time and where I would imagine most players will. Sandbox is the true meat and substance within Tropico 5. Not only can you set your win conditions, but you can choose between multiple economic and political difficulty levels, starting era, the money initially available (unlimited is also an option) and the number of citizens that start on your island. But probably even more critical to your island's success is the land itself. While you will have plenty of pre-made islands to choose from, there is also a map generator that offers endless combinations of whatever creation you want -- for example, you can choose between different sized-islands and the amount of resources available. Even if you skip much of the campaign, you will still be able to learn as you go. Within the game itself is a sort of quest function where specific tasks will need to be completed. Whether it be to build a library or extra military buildings, the game does an excellent job of teaching while doing. For someone like me who hates to read directions or endless strategy guides (preferring to figure stuff out on my own), this is a perfect implementation. But it's not just the quests that will guide you. The detailed faction and happiness statistics will help you be the leader you want to be. There are various factions all vying for greatness and it's your job as leader to finely balance what you want for your island and what your people actually want and need. To help you lead, there is a dynasty system where you can name and set specific management roles to created characters that will give bonuses to buildings based on their specific abilities -- there are generic managers, but you can't level those up like you can dynasty members. For example, you can have a celebrity manager that is best suited for hotels or you can have a magnate who works well with oil and mining buildings. These dynasty members are part of El Presidente's extended family and can benefit you greatly within the game. Ignoring them or their abilities will only make your leadership that much more challenging. Of course, it's not just your island you have to worry about. Tropico 5 is also a nation builder. Within it, you'll have to juggle the trade of exports and imports and appeasing the Russians while at the same time not pissing off the Americans. As time moves on from the Colonial Era to the Modern Era, you will have even more nations and scenarios to deal with. There are many situations in your virtual island experience that feel like they mirror how a real nation and leader needs to function. Tropico 5 is a constant balancing act and a game filled with trial and error. You should be warned, if you find yourself to be a Civ addict, then you will quickly find that Tropico 5 offers the same kind of grab. Hours melt away. As you complete one task, something else comes up that you feel drastically needs your attention. The amount of management, while it can seem overwhelming, is really the draw and appeal of the game. There is a multiplayer component, but really, unless you want to build an island with a friend or desperately want to compete against others, you probably aren't going to bother. It works, so that's all most players can really ask for when it comes to multiplayer within nation builders. The game is not without its minor faults or seemingly-impossible challenges. While I do keep the pace of time in its most forward position, it never felt like I could appease or completely stop rebel attacks or uprisings. These occur when citizens are unhappy or you have specific constitution options active, but no matter what, I found myself dealing with this constant nuisance. Also, there were occasional save issues. In fairness, I played the majority of my time with Spotify running in the background, so whether or not that sometimes caused games not to be saved, I don't know. It doesn't happen often, but it can be devastating if you're not paying attention and haven't saved in a while. Even though there were no real issues with the controls themselves, perfectly placing roads can take some getting used to, but it doesn't strongly detract from the game. While Tropico 5 isn't the game-of-the-year masterpiece of a generation, it's a more-than serviceable sim and strategy title that can satisfy a grossly under-served genre within the console community. If you love SimCity and Civilization and are dying for something similar on your PS4, then there really is no reason not to have and enjoy this game to its fullest extent. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tropico 5 review photo
It's good to be the king
City and civilization games on consoles are a rare thing. I'm not exactly sure why that is, but my guess would be that traditionally, these games only enjoy their moderate success on PC. Whether it be the limitations of conso...

Project CARS photo
Project CARS

Here is your Project CARS full car listing

Jay Leno says hi
Apr 30
// Robert Summa
The upcoming racing sim Project CARS has been on the radar for many of those who live and breathe the genre. Slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 8, here is the full car list that we know about so far (65 of which will come with the standard edition).
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Rocket League

Rocket League on PS4: You should be playing this

Closed beta extended through weekend, ends May 3
Apr 30
// Robert Summa
If you haven't heard about Rocket League yet for the PlayStation 4, then let me sum it up for you in just three words: soccer with cars. The game is the sequel to the PlayStation 3's Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle...
Tropico 5 photo
Tropico 5

Tropico 5 is like crack for your PS4

Multiplayer impressions coming soon
Apr 27
// Robert Summa
I'm a sucker for city-building and Civ-like games. Since the very early days of SimCity and SimTower, I've poured countless hours into building my virtual communities and empires. With Tropico 5 now ported over to the PlaySta...
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The Call of Duty mural at Treyarch

A quick look at the studio
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
While visiting with Treyarch for its upcoming release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, I happened to notice some impressive artwork that ran across a few of the walls inside. Done by iam8bit artist Dave Crosland, the pieces represent the entirety of Treyarch's contributions to the Call of Duty franchise. Here's a look at some of that art.
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Dtoid Q&A: Treyarch and Call of Duty: Black Ops III

The developers speak out
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
As part of my recent visit with Treyarch covering the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, I had the opportunity to sit down with three of the key figures behind this year's entry into the Call of Duty franchise. ...
CoD photo

Hands on with Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer

Complexity and simplicity collide
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
During my recent visit with Treyarch, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. After sitting through a presentation that seemed dizzying at times with the amount of changes and la...

What we know about Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Apr 26 // Robert Summa
Single player is no longer for singles As Call of Duty continues to march into the modern era of gaming, Black Ops III will introduce the option of online co-op in its single player campaign. The main campaign will now support up to four players working together. Jason Blundell, campaign director and senior executive producer, said it will redefine how Call of Duty is played. Set in the near-future, Black Ops III is all about bio augmentation and robotics. Something that will not only affect your single-player experience, but also multiplayer (but we'll get more into that later). Giving players the choice between male and female characters, the campaign will put you in the role of an enhanced cybernetic Black Ops soldier.  The intensity and theme of the game were on full display as Treyarch showed us one of the levels of the campaign, called Cairo. At first, it seemed like one of your standard Call of Duty experiences. But as the level progressed, the world awoke and the retooled battlefield was on full display. [embed]290987:58342:0[/embed] With the main fighting occurring in an open space, the ambition of Black Ops III was immediately apparent. There was an amazing scope to the level and the action within it. The world felt very alive and tangible with action happening in just about every space within the player's view. Planes flying overhead, bullets whizzing by, robots. It was hectic. New devastating weapons, such as a spike launcher, were unveiled. Rolling balls of spikes looking to impale unsuspecting victims littered the battlefield. The reliance and added value of your co-op partners certainly played a part in a level where a new emergent AI was able to make intelligent decisions based on what your team was doing. According to Treyarch, the AI was a focus during development. The team added a new animation set and claim that the goal-oriented AI can now communicate and organize itself -- which is key with the variety of options that the campaign now offers with the availability of co-op. Blundell stressed some key points Treyarch is trying to drive home with Black Ops III's campaign. Buzzwords such as cinematic intensity, epic action, a gritty narrative, and replayability are what the single-player experience is trying to be. Customization is key Allowing players to express themselves in a unique way has been a staple of the franchise for a number of years now. Treyarch is looking to build upon this by allowing players not only more set-up options, but a player experience system within the single-player that will allow extensive upgrades not only to your character and his or her abilities, but also to the weapons themselves. Cyber Cores and Cyber Rigs are cybernetic modifications that will allow added layers of player customization. Cyber Cores will let players do things from remote hacking to controlling drones to chaining melee strikes, while Cyber Rigs are passive upgrades that allow advanced movement and defensive capabilities. With the addition of the Safe House, customization and socialization options will be available. This is the area players will go between levels. The Safe House will have your own customizable bunk and provide access to a wiki with information related to the game. There will be collectibles and opportunities to purchase tokens, which can be used in your upgrades. PC will not be ignored Treyarch studio head and president Mark Lamia said a greater emphasis was placed on the PC version of Black Ops III. While not getting into a great amount of detail (such as anything server-related), Lamia said Treyarch worked closely with hardware companies to bring a high-end experience for those who have upper-tier machines and have adopted 4K.  While catering to the high-end crowd, Lamia also said the team put a great deal of effort into optimization. The current recommended specs are as follows (but they are subject to change): Operating System: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit / Windows 8.1 64-Bit Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-530 @ 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom™ II X4 810 @ 2.60 GHz Memory: 6 GB RAM Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 470 @ 1GB / ATI® Radeon™ HD 6970 @ 1GB DirectX: Version 11 Network: Broadband Internet connection Sound Card: DirectX Compatible But what about Zombies? Treyarch remained silent on what exactly Black Ops III will offer for its fan-favorite zombie mode. What we were told, however, is that it will have its own player progression system, distinct storyline, more depth and will include all kinds of "mind-fuckery," as Lamia put it. As with the main game and multiplayer, the social aspects of Black Ops III are set to play a key role in zombies as well. Who cares about single player, tell me about multiplayer Even with the inclusion of online four-player co-op, there still will be a faction of Call of Duty fans who only care about one thing: multiplayer. I got my hands on multiplayer, which is covered in-depth in a separate article, but I want to tell you what you should expect. As mentioned, Black Ops III has its focus on risk versus reward. Nowhere is this more apparent than with multiplayer and the complete reworking of not only gun-play, but movement as well. To do this, the team changed some of the rules. For instance, players will now be able to shoot while doing all movements in the game -- this includes everything from jumping to wall running (yes, wall running) to climbing over ledges and, for the first time, swimming. While still remaining true to three-lane map design philosophy with no buildings above two stories, the team has also added new movement abilities such as thrust jumping and power sliding, and as mentioned, wall running and swimming. Oh, and did I mention you can sprint for as long as you want? Treyarch said it wants to allow players to have full combat control with no pause in the action.  While players won't be limited with their sprint, there will be limitations to the power slide and wall run. They aren't significant limitations, but they are present. These changes are immediately noticeable with the varied results that thrust jump, wall running, and the power slide provide. There is a fluidity now to the action. While it seems overwhelming at first glance, the general simplicity and ease of use associated with Call of Duty is still in place. Dan Bunting, game director, said the philosophy is guns up, not down. They want omni-directional movement options in what he says will, "feel like a BLOPS II evolution." In all, it's about endless momentum and making the gameplay faster and more engaging. This is my rifle Through the Gunsmith menu, players will be presented with what is being billed as a whole new level of weapon customization. Here, players will be able to name their weapons, preview attachments on actual in-game models and of course, access a paint job option that will allow for near-limitless personalization. You will be able to equip up to five attachments and an optic. The emblem creator is back in a new way, this time called Paintshop. Not only will the images that players create be more visible on their weapon of choice, but they will now have access to 64 layers for three paintable sides. There are also material options such as carbon fiber and the ability to design gun camo. Looking for someone special Another significant shift within Black Ops III's multiplayer is the usage of what are being called Specialists. There will be nine total, but we were only shown four.  Each Specialist is essentially an archetype the player will choose from and develop over time. They have their own unique abilities and power weapons to choose from -- and of course their own look, personality and voice. The goal, Treyarch said, is to give every player the opportunity to become powerful within the game.  If you were one of those people who have come to despise Call of Duty because of excessive and overpowered killstreaks or scorestreaks, Treyarch is attempting to balance the playing field with the inclusion of Specialists and their unique weapons and abilities. While the best players will still have advantages, the goal is to now let everyone get involved, not just the top tier. The first Specialist we were shown goes by the name Ruin (real name Donnie Walsh). This is a rusher/bruiser character that uses Gravity Spikes as his power weapon. He's pretty much the Titan from Destiny. Once the Gravity Spikes are used, an area-of-effect blast deals damage and eliminates all enemies within the vicinity. It's devastating, but must be timed and used smartly for best results. Players will have to choose between Specialists' unique power weapon or ability. Ruin's ability, Overdrive, provides a burst of speed, making for a character that will thrive in Capture the Flag. The second specialist presented was Seraph (real name Zhen Zhen). She sports a hand cannon called the Annihilator that deals a single shot capable of taking out multiple enemies if lined up perfectly. Her ability, Combat Focus, will trigger a bonus multiplier to your score that will go toward your scorestreak for a short period of time. The third specialist, and probably my favorite so far, is Outrider (real name Alessandra Castillo). She comes with the Sparrow, a compound bow that will explode enemies after sticking to them. But this isn't why I liked her. I always suck with bows in games, so the real draw of Outrider for me was her ability, Vision Pulse. The ability will ping the surrounding area and tag the location of all enemies within range. With it, you will essentially be able to see enemies through walls for a short amount of time. Perfect for campers, such as myself. The fourth, Reaper (real name Experimental War Robot), is a combat robot with an arm that can transform into a minigun, called the Scythe. While it does take time to spin up, the results of it in action can be devastating. Reaper's ability is called Glitch. With it, Reaper can relocate about three seconds into the past to a previous position. The Specialist power weapons and abilities are only available after a certain time or score threshold has been met. Charging over time, the refill rate is directly affected by your participation within the game. However, even if you sit and do nothing, you still will have at least one opportunity to use either option.  As with everything else in Black Ops III, the power weapon and ability are a choice. You can't have both. Depending on your play style, you will quickly find which is more effective for you. Just like your load outs, all of these options will be available pre-match. To wrap it all up The goal for Treyarch is to make the "deepest and richest Call of Duty ever," Lamia said.  He said the intention is to make it easier for players to find each other, not just in multiplayer, but single player and zombies as well. While he wasn't willing to go into specifics, he said he wants players to be aware of what others are playing and allow them to do whatever they want to do at any time. Lamia asserted that the social aspect of Black Ops III is what will distinguish it from others. Near the end of the presentation, Lamia revealed a couple of special opportunities for players to get their hands on the game and see for themselves how it plays. At this year's E3, Lamia said fans will have the chance to actually play multiplayer. But even if you aren't able to attend E3, those who pre-order the game will have access to the game's beta. Black Ops III will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Overall, the promise for Black Ops III is there. This is a series that has extremely high expectations. It's obviously too early to say whether or not Black Ops III will come close to meeting those, but the foundation is there. The blueprint and makings of a great and varied experience that breaks the mold is evident.  For now, all we can do is wait. 
Black Ops III photo
Multiplayer campaign and more
Whatever you think you know about the Call of Duty franchise is about to change. As a series that is often criticized for offering more of the same, Black Ops developer Treyarch has made every attempt to alter that mindset wi...

Titanfall photo

PSA: Best Buy gives you an excuse to get Titanfall

Xbox One version currently $8
Apr 24
// Robert Summa
For those rare Xbox One owners that still haven't experienced Titanfall, Best Buy is running a sale that certainly limits your excuses for not owning the game. As of now, the game is available for only $7.99. Seems like a good value to me, but I suppose if you hate fun, then it isn't. Titanfall [Best Buy]
Sonic photo

Forget Sonic Boom, this is what the next Sonic should really be

Just look at him, so cute
Apr 23
// Robert Summa
For those that have lost faith that a proper Sonic game will ever come out again, please feel comforted in the fact that with videos like these, there is always hope. Honestly, wouldn't you rather play a game that looks like this than the horrors of Sonic Boom? [Image]
Online gaming photo
Online gaming

Lonely Chinese gamers can hire escorts for the feels

What a time to be alive
Apr 22
// Robert Summa
The Chinese can take gaming very seriously. So seriously in fact that they have created an entire industry revolved around keeping lonely gamers happy while grinding away in their virtual wastelands. While in places like Amer...

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